With drivers of the Britcar Championship newly adjusted to racing in the dark from the 6 hr race in October, the finale of the 2009 championship, aptly titled, ‘Into the Night’ was sure to provide a spectacle for spectators, able to view almost the whole of the Brands Hatch Indy circuit owed to its amphitheatre-like characteristics.
Qualifying was staged in the twilight, readying drivers for an unlit night time race. Class 3 contenders, Jon Harrison and Neil Huggins, who, having only had his stitches out from an operation to put in a metal plate in his collarbone that week, did a sterling job, placing their Marcos Mantis 12th on the grid of 32 cars. The class 2 Marcos Mantis driven by Henry Fletcher and newcomer to the series, Raphael Fiorentino also put in an impressive qualifying lap to secure 9th. Further up the grid, Andrew Beaumont and Richard Fores, on only his 2nd invitation to drive the Mosler managed to qualify 5th ahead of the Sumpter/Slater Porsche 911RSR.
The start of the race could only be described as a bit of a blur, however, the ensuing incidents before the first corner were clear to see as the Cameron/Edmonds MTech Ferrari 430 was tapped from behind forcing the car to veer into the tyre wall by the pit exit, bouncing back out into the middle of the track and straight into the path of luckless and blameless Jon Harrison in the Topcats Marcos Mantis. No further participation for either Harrison or the Cameron/Edmonds Ferrari who both sustained extensive damage to their cars.
Both the Topcats Mosler of Andrew Beaumont and Marcos of Henry Fletcher steered clear of a number of incidents occurring as cars rounded the first corner, however, inevitably the safety car was deployed to clear the track of debris and stranded cars. It was several laps before the race could continue again in ernest.
With a significant proportion of the race run behind the safety car, short work had to be made to make up positions, no driver understood this better than Henry Fletcher who had capitalised on every opportunity and was now dominating the field in 4th place and threatening the front runners. Richard Fores had taken over from Andrew Beaumont half and hour into the race and was holding station but was caught out when the train of cars following the safety car slowed suddenly and Fores stalled the engine allowing a numbers of cars to pass him and relegating the Topcats Mosler into 15th place. Nothing could be done until the safety car came in. Fores knew he had to drive unabated to redeem himself.
With the best part of the 90 minute race now run, Fiorentino radioed in from the class 2 Topcats Marcos to say that he had mechanical failure and had pulled off the track. A very disappointing end to an outstanding performance from both drivers. It was later discovered that a drive shaft had failed.
Meanwhile, Fores was giving the team renewed hope and had climbed up the leader board. Finally, with only a few laps remaining, Fores clinched 5th place at the finish.